A draft code of ethics for midwives was approved at a Council of Ministers meeting presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sent on Friday.
According to a statement released by the Council of Ministers, the sub-decree will help reduce infant and maternal mortality rate, and promote higher-quality midwifery.
“The government aims to increase its efforts to take care of both the maternal and infant health in the city and rural areas, which is why the draft was created to promote professional midwifery skills and fight to reduce infant mortality rate in Cambodia,” the release states.
The draft calls upon all midwives to offer effective care and service for the mother and child, during and after birth.
Dr Som Rithy, vice chief of National Maternal and Child Health Centre’s neonatal care department, said that although midwives should be professionally trained, there were some people in rural areas who preferred hiring midwives trained by traditional mentors – historically
their own mothers and grandmothers.
While the number of pregnant women who seek medical care at hospitals has shot up, increasing by 86 per cent over the past decade, midwives remain in high demand. The Ministry of Health recognises 4,590 midwives.
“[Many people] don’t have enough money to go to a health centre, because their homes are too far away for them to make the trip,” Dr Rithy said. “Pregnant women need skilled midwives to ensure their and their babies health. The Ministry of Health should lead the effort for this to happen.”
According to a report by the Ministry of Health, the infant mortality rate in Cambodia decreased from 95 deaths per 1,000 births in 2005, to 45 deaths in 2010.
The draft of the ethics code, with seven chapters and 38 articles, was first advocated for by the Ministry of Health and the Cambodian Midwives Committee in 2006.